"U.S. expressions of support of the kind provided to Georgia — short of
an explicit mutual defense pact — may or may not result in military
assistance if/when Israel is under attack, especially when the attacker has
an effective deterrent, such as nuclear arms deliverable against U.S.
targets," the report said. "In the future, such an attacker could be Iran or
an Arab country armed with atomic weapons. Israel can and should rely on its
own deterrent — a massive survivable second-strike capability."
The report criticized the U.S. intelligence community, which failed to
detect Russian efforts to annex Georgia's Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Cohen,
who warned that Ukraine was Moscow's next target, said the Bush
administration did not prepare the Georgian military for a Russian attack.
"This is something to remember when looking at recent American
intelligence assessments of the Iranian nuclear threat or the unsuccessful
training of Palestinian Authority security forces against Hamas," Cohen
Cohen said a pro-Russian regime in Georgia would result in Moscow's full
control of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline and the Baku-Erzurum natural
gas pipeline, both of which reach Turkey. Israel has been receiving some of
its oil from Ceyhan and has a "stake in the smooth flow of oil from the
The report said Russia financed and armed the Russian ethnic community
in Georgia to foment unrest. Cohen compared this to Iran's use of proxies to
attack Israel from Lebanon and the Gaza Strip.
"This use of small, ethnically-based proxies is similar to Iran's use of
Hizbullah and Hamas to continuously attack Israel," the report said.
"Tbilisi tried for years to deal with these militias by offering a
negotiated solution, including full autonomy within Georgia."
Cohen, a senior researcher at the Washington-based Heritage Foundation,
said Russia plans to extend its influence throughout the Middle East. He
cited Russian Navy bases in the Syrian ports of Latakia and Tartous and
plans to establish a presence in Libya.
"Clearly, with the renewal of East-West tensions as a result of Russia's
moves against Georgia, it will be much more difficult to obtain Moscow's
agreement to enhance sanctions and international pressures on Iran," the
report said. "The struggle to diplomatically halt its [Iran's] nuclear
program will become far more difficult."